My Book of Hours

I’ve spent that past 12 weeks with a fabulous group of women, meeting weekly to go through the book The Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Paintner. Week four was on “Sacred Rhythms” and introduced the Liturgy of the Hours, a concept with which I was already familiar. If you have never heard of this concept, you can read an introduction here. Prayed in full, there are seven periods of the day (or “hours”) that are set aside for prayer, and the prayers are scripted, mostly from the Psalms. Those in some Monastic communities pray these prayers daily. Many others who are not called to religious orders, also choose to pray in this way. Some modify the prayers to fewer times per day, such as morning, noon and evening.

One of my favorite experiences on this topic was a retreat I attended, co-led by Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, a Benedictine Nun from St. Scholastica Monastery in Ft. Smith, AR, and Velma Frye. Velma took the poetry of Sr. Wiederkehr and turned it into music. So, in addition to hearing Sr. Wiederkehr teach about the deep meanings behind the Liturgy of the Hours, we got to experience those meanings in song. This was back in September of 2015. While there, I purchased a copy of Sr. Wiederkehr’s book, Seven Sacred Pauses (Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day). I highly recommend this book, if you want to dig deeper. What I didn’t realize, when I attended that retreat back in 2015, was that each hour has its own special emphasis, which is brought out exceptionally well in this little book, and which Sr. Wiederkehr also explained brilliantly during the retreat.

So, back to my current class, when we were assigned to create our own book of hours, I remembered back my 2015 retreat, and I pulled the book off of the shelf, found my retreat notes and revisited both. Nearly two months later, I finally finished my assignment! I knew I wanted to use Sr. Wiederkehr’s Haiku poems and her concepts of what each of the hours meant. I also knew I wanted to use some calligraphy and watercolor. However, I’m just learning calligraphy, so the writing is very much that of a beginner. I also don’t know anything about watercolor, but this project was a kickstart for me to learn some basics. This video shows the end result.  Making this video, using iMovie, was also new to me, so this was truly a beginner’s attempt on many levels.

I made the video of my little book of hours, because I thought maybe the thoughts and images would speak to you in some way. On the left-hand side you will see information about the hour of the day, from Sr. Wiederkehr’s Seven Sacred Pauses book. On the right-hand side, you will see the Haiku that she wrote for each one of the hours.

You can link to the video here. I pray that you may be blessed.

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